The Ministry of Health (MoH)) denied the information that it has allowed the import and use of Salbutamol chemical rampantly.
The information quoted Chief Inspector of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Van Viet that as per the Ministry of Public Security's environmental police unit, known as C49, in 2015 over 20 companies imported 9,140 kilogram of the chemical into Vietnam; of them, three tons are being kept in companies’ stock meanwhile over 6 tons of the chemical have been sold in the market; however, out of 6 tons sold in the market, just 10 kilogram is used in correct purpose.
MoH negated the above-mentioned information. It explained last year, enterprises were allowed to import 5,215 kilogram of Salbutamol and in 2014, they imported 3,876 kilogram. It asserted that Salbutamol is a necessary chemical in making medicines for treatment yet the chemical has not been included in the list of chemical under strict observation.
Accordingly, the import of the chemical is done following the government’s decree taking effective on December 29, 2010 which write that except some special chemicals such as radioactive substances, addictive substances must be under close observation, the quantity of other substances will be imported depending on the enterprise’ proposal in order to ensure enough for production of medicine for treatment.
For husbandry, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has just issued a decree of index of banned chemicals for import in which has Salbutamol. This decree was not sent to the Ministry of Health for coordination.
Nevertheless, to respond to newspaper articles over the wrong use of the banned checamil, the Ministry of Health carried out inspections in 10 companies which import Salbutamol. Through inspection, four companies were detected to violate the regulation including selling the substance to drug stores which have no license.
Health inspectors from the Vietnam Drug Administration under the Ministry of Health issued harsh penalties on violating companies as per the law. Health inspectors also transferred documents of violating companies including Phuong Dong International Chemical Company; Minh Hai Join-Stock Pharmaceutical Company and Minh Anh Pharmaceutical Company to C49 for further investigation.
After studying the document, C49 informed the Vietnam Drug Administration that it is not enough evidence for criminal proceedings as per the law asking the Administration to impose administrative fines on violating companies.
Salbutamol is a medication that opens up the medium and large airways in the lungs, therefore used to treat such diseases as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
However, dishonest farmers used the substance as a lean-meat agent that helps pigs or shrimp gain weight in a short time but is detrimental to human health.